A point from Jason Kelly in the 60th minute earned Abbeylara a narrow victory over neighbours Granard in the Division 1 league clash at Lynch Park on Friday evening last.
Granard held a three point advantage at the break (2-4 to 0-7) and were in front by two coming into the final 10 minutes. But credit to Abbeylara they battled back and in the final three minutes Jason Kelly fired over the equaliser (a free) and then the winner.
Abbeylara started the game brightly and hit over the opening two scores; a ’45 from keeper Damien O’Connor and a fine point from James McEntire. Granard responded with a goal from David Hynes in the 5th minute; Paul Smyth played in a fine ball and with O’Connor out of goals Hynes flicked the ball over the opposing keeper.
Abbeylara replied with points from Jason Kelly and Robbie Smyth and they were getting on top at midfield with James McEntire, in particular, impressing. Kelly put two between the sides in the 8th minute before McEntire got his second point one minute later.
Granard gradually came into the game. Scores from Darren Gallagher and Brian Sheridan closed the gap before a free from David Hynes left the sides level in the 17th minute.
Mark Tully then brought a good save out of Abbeylara keeper Damien O’Connor in the 21st minute before Granard grabbed a second goal three minutes later through Darren Gallagher.
A good point from Arthur O’Connor left Abbeylara trailing by three at the break. A stunning strike from Granard’s Stephen Lynch was tipped over the bar for a point by Damien O’Connor one minute into the second half but three points in a row from Abbeylara cut the gap to just one by the 51st minute. David Hynes replied for Granard with a free before Jason Kelly was on target for Abbeylara (a free).
Granard keeper Gary Carroll pulled off a good save to deny Nigel Rabbitte a point before Robbie Smyth then levelled matters in the 53rd minute. Stephen Lynch hit over a free to edge Granard back in front in the 55th minute but two late Jason Kelly points clinched the win for Abbeylara.
ABBEYLARA: Damien O’Connor (0-1,’45); Anthony McBrien, Fergal Battrim, Brian Smyth; Michael McHugh, Colm P Smyth, Liam Reilly; Arthur O’Connor (0-1), James McEntire (0-2); Cormac Smyth, Jason Kelly (0-7, 4 frees), Michael O’Connor; Barry Smyth, Robbie Smyth (0-3), Sean Murphy.
Subs:- Nigel Rabbitte for L Reilly (27 mins); Derek Smith for S Murphy (half-time); Enda Ledwith for M O’Connor (41 mins); Sean Berry for M McHugh (46 mins).
ST. MARY’S GRANARD: Gary Carroll; Mark Tully, Thomas Gallagher, Jody Connolly; Alan Neilon, Brian Sheridan (0-1), Liam Sullivan; Fergus Kelly, Charlie Martin; Stephen Lynch (0-3, 2 frees), Paul Smyth, Mark Tully; Derek Sheridan, Darren Gallagher (1-2), David Hynes (1-1, 1 free).
Subs:- Eoin Higgins for M Tully (half-time); Declan Hynes for D Sheridan (44 mins); Glen Kelly for F Kelly (57 mins); Ciaran Mallon for A Neilon (black card, 60 mins).
Referee: Aidan Dowler (Moydow Harpers).